4:59 pm, Wednesday, 24th February 2021

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19

Read the full article on Gov.uk, ‘What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19‘.

Information for parents and carers about attending schools, nurseries and colleges in the spring term 2021.

This update includes information on:

  • attending school and college, confirming that all children and students will return from 8 March
  • asymptomatic testing in secondary schools and colleges
  • changes to advice on when and where face coverings should be worn in schools and colleges
  • arrangements for vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs)
  • travelling to boarding and residential schools and colleges
  • elective home education
  • remote education and devices


During the national lockdown, schools and colleges should only allow vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers to attend. All other pupils and students should learn remotely.

Nurseries and childminders (including maintained nursery schools and nursery classes in schools) should stay open and allow children to attend their usual hours.

Childminders can also care for school-aged children (reception upwards) if they are vulnerable children or children of critical workers. If your child is in reception, they should only attend education or childcare if they are a vulnerable child or at least one parent or carer is a critical worker.

From 8 March, all children and students should return to school and college. All primary pupils should attend school from this date. All secondary pupils and college students will be offered testing from 8 March, and those who consent to testing should return to face-to-face education following their first negative test result. If you or your child (if they are aged over 18) do not consent, they will not be stopped from going back and will return in line with their school or college’s arrangements.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has made clear that the overwhelming majority of children and young people still have no symptoms or very mild illness only. Returning to school or college is also vital for their educational progress, for their wellbeing, and for their wider development.

To continue to manage the risks, including when all children and students return, nurseries, childminders, schools and colleges will continue to implement the range of protective measures that they have been using throughout the autumn term. We have further strengthened these measures to help decrease the disruption the virus causes to education. Current evidence suggests that these measures are still the right ones to take.

Your child’s nursery, childminder, school or college can give you more information about the measures they have in place.

Alternative provision, special schools and special post-16 provision

From now until 8 March

All special schools, special post-16 provision and alternative provision should remain open to vulnerable children and young people and the children of critical workers, as they have done throughout the national lockdown. These schools and colleges will continue to offer face-to-face provision for all pupils where appropriate. We expect schools and colleges to actively encourage your child to attend if they consider them to be vulnerable. They should provide remote learning for those who are not attending.

Special schools should continue to welcome and encourage pupils to attend where you want your child to go to school, or in the case of post-16 provision where the young person wishes to attend.

From 8 March

From 8 March, school attendance is mandatory for all pupils. All children and young people should attend their special school, special post-16 provider or alternative provision setting, unless they receive a positive test result or have to self-isolate.

We expect that every 16 to 19 student (or 19 to 25 with an EHC plan) undertakes the majority of their planned hours on site. Special post-16 institutions should continue to allow students to attend as per their usual timetable.

Your child’s school or college should continue to work collaboratively with you to agree an approach that is in your child’s best interests.

Read the full article on Gov.uk, ‘What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19‘.